Robot Setup Gets Automated

Jan. 31, 2023
OnRobot’s D:Ploy hardware and software is now available to automate the process of integrating robots into palletizing, CNC machine tending, packaging, and pick-and-place applications.

Amid all the robot news coming out of the IMTS 2022 event, one of the more interesting exhibits was a preview of OnRobot’s D:Ploy platform for building, running, monitoring, and re-deploying collaborative robot applications. As noted in Automation World’s coverage of the D:Ploy preview, as easy as robot setup and programming have become over the last decade, there is still quite a bit of work required to get robots installed and integrated into production operations. The extra costs and complexities associated with robot installation is a burden for many manufacturers—especially small and medium-sized businesses—as it impacts their return on investment.

This challenge is what D:Ploy is designed to overcome. According to OnRobot, D:Ploy automates the process of getting a robotic application up and running, enabling complete robot applications to be deployed and redeployed within a few hours in a manufacturing environment with no programming.

D:PLOY can be used to incorporate robots from different suppliers for palletizing, CNC machine tending, packaging, and pick-and-place applications. OnRobot says additional processes will be added to D:Ploy in the near future.

The D:Ploy software guides users through the setup steps requiring input only of basic information about the application to be performed, such as pallet size and orientation for palletizing or machine type and part dimensions for machine tending.

Demonstrating D:Ploy at IMTS 2022, Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of OnRobot, explained that once you connect a robot to the D:Ploy module, users only have to scan the QR code on the module to securely connect to OnRobot’s cloud system, which can then detect all robotic components in the work cell—the robot as well as its end of arm tooling. Other components in the work cell are added to the D:Ploy software environment through an intuitive interface to further define the work space.

Read more about OnRobot's D:Ploy from our IMTS 2022 preview of the technology.

“D:Ploy will make automation accessible for companies who may be a bit reluctant, whether it is related to cost or in-house skills and competences,” says Alan Vallis, training and development manager at LG Motion Ltd., an OnRobot distributor. “I think D:Ploy will demystify a lot of that.” 

By automatically discovering the installed workcell hardware and generating the robot motion based on the obstacles and cell boundaries defined in the workspace, D:PLOY automates many of the manual steps necessary to build and run a robot application. OnRobot notes that the program logic, signals exchange, event handling, and robot movement are all automatically created for the entire application based on a few inputs such as workpiece attributes and pick position.

The D:Ploy software also allows users to monitor, in real-time, all aspects of the application, such as available runtime, actual runtime, downtime, and OEE (overall equipment effectiveness).

This automated setup translates into a 90% reduction in time required to set up a common robotic palletizing operation, for example. Such time savings also extend into re-deployment of robots as applications and workcells change to meet production requirements.

Watch this video covering the 3 most prominent robot trends on display at IMTS 2022.

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